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TODAY the Evening Star reveals the sad state of the Ipswich retail trade - with 100 shop units closed for business!As our county fights for its place on East Anglia's shopping circuit - with Norwich, Colchester and Cambridge leading the way and vying for shoppers - we have been on the sad trail of once busy shops now laying idle.

By Tracey Sparling

TODAY the Evening Star reveals the sad state of the Ipswich retail trade - with 100 shop units closed for business!

As our county fights for its place on East Anglia's shopping circuit - with Norwich, Colchester and Cambridge leading the way and vying for shoppers - we have been on the sad trail of once busy shops now laying idle.

Our investigation has revealed

- 100 empty shops in Ipswich town centre.

- loss to economy in terms of business rates and turnover, and many jobs.

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- reasons include leases affected by the Mint Quarter, the rise of Internet shopping, at a time of great transition in the retail industry.

- 120 retailers want to move to town, but many need far bigger sites than Ipswich can offer.

We love Ipswich but this sad picture is a fact of life - it stares us in the face every day we venture into town. Some units have been boarded up for generations, others bolted their doors just weeks ago. There is a glimmer of hope, in that some units display posters promising to re-open soon, but those developments are a very small chink of light in an otherwise dark picture.

So today we are launching a 'We're Backing Ipswich' drive to support the retail trade through a gloomy period of business and transition.

Let's not stand idly by and watch as shops close and get boarded up around us. We want to show some gleaming examples of businesses to support.

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